The JC Letters Page, 3rd May 2019

Dr Stanley Jacobs, Barry Hyman, Professor Stephen Neidle, Renee Bravo, K. Miller and Steven R. Harvey share their views with JC readers

May 02, 2019 12:15

A different perspective

Why does Jonathan Boyd (On Muslim attitudes, nuance is crucial, April 19)  quote only percentages in his warning against the more “extremist” anti-Muslim  views of Melanie Philips et al? Is it because doing so enables him to reassuringly say “the proportions… are pretty small” and  “… still a minority position”? 

If we translate his percentages into numbers, however, a somewhat more arresting picture emerges.

Islam is the second largest religion in the UK, with a population nearing three million, mostly centred in England, and is projected to double within a generation. The total UK Jewish population is about 270,000. 

Let us use these figures to numerise Jonathan Boyd’s percentages.  

“…most Muslims display at least some hostility towards” Israel. Since most Jews are pro Israel that is quite a threatening daily ethos to experience.

“…non-religious Muslims [who] hold multiple anti-Jewish views… is about seven per cent.”  That is 210,000 Muslims.  

“Hard core anti-Israel sentiment in this group is just over” 20 per cent. That is 42,000 potential anti- Israel Muslim recruits.  

To gain perspective of this number, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that Isis in Iraq and Syria at its height in 2014 numbered around 80,000–100,00.  

In august 2018, the estimate was 30, 000.  Now though only a few thousand, it remains a significant European threat.

Dr Stanley Jacobs
London SW18

Fury at film-maker

I do not know if it is Alan Montague’s review of Adina Hoffman’s book on Ben Hecht or the book itself (Books, April 19) which chooses to omit one particular unpleasant aspect of his muscular support for Israel relating to his support for Irgun’s terror tactics. 

He raised fury in the UK , even among Jews , when he said in a newspaper in 1947: “Every time you blow up a British arsenal…or let go with your guns and bombs at the British betrayers and invaders of your homeland, the Jews of America make a little holiday in their hearts.”

This did his reputation permanent harm in the UK including among the Jewish community, not least as it was said as two British soldiers were killed by the Irgun in retaliation, their bodies hanged and booby-trapped. His misguided remarks strengthened anti- Jewish feelings here as the British struggled with the ending of the mandate.

Barry Hyman
Bushey Heath

Cash to bash quota

Institutions such as universities in the UK and the USA are assessing their historic relationships with people involved in the slave trade over 200 years ago.

It is therefore entirely appropriate that they, their medical schools and other seats of learning, set up enquiries on their historic policies denying places and opportunities to Jews. Institutional antisemitism was widely prevalent in many of them, at least up to the first half of the 20th century, and generations were affected. 

I had personal experience of this some 60 years ago. After sitting and passing the entrance and oral examinations to one of our best-known public schools, I and my lower-middle-class parents were told that I had no place since, “we have filled our Jewish quota,” but if my parents wished to pay, then the case would be reconsidered…” 

Professor Stephen Neidle
Bushey, Herts 

Pesach: take your pick

Every year you publish a letter bewailing the cost of keeping Pesach. In the absence of any “official” response, may I add my tuppence worth.

The only requirement for keeping Pesach  is that  “no chametz shall be seen in your home”.  There is a wonderful adjunct to Jewish law called the “fence around the Torah principle”. Do not  do anything that may tempt you to break the law.  The changing of the dishes comes into this category.  Although it is lovely to bring out Great-aunt Ethel’s salad bowl every year, and remind you of days gone by and loved ones no longer with us, it is not required by law.  

The prices of Pesach foodstuffs are high because of the strict adherence to this unnecessary law.

I was once privileged to witness a group of rabbis discussing whether teflon pans can be koshered for Pesach. One of their number who had a scientific background had been deputed to look into the matter. He decided that the possibility of a bit of chametz getting stuck between the pan and the teflon coating was so remote, that it was quite OK to kosher it for Pesach. I am sure that many such discussions take place every year.    

I may be forgiven for reminding you of something I wrote many years ago.  Someone should set up a program, where you ask your computer a question, and the answer you would like, and the computer will tell you which rabbi to consult.

Renee Bravo 
London, E18 


Following Anthony Clavane’s article about the Jewish connection at Tottenham “Chutzpah” and Ajax (JC, April 26), let us all wish mazel tov to Leyton “Mizrachi” Orient who also have a large Jewish following. After nearly 750 days in bondage under a tyrannical Italian owner and now under a dynamic new leadership duo, on the last day of Pesach the O’s made their own exodus from the National League to the Promised Land of the English Football League.

 K. Miller
 London N14

Political pot and kettle

Despite continuing to do nothing about the antisemitism and misogyny endemic in his own Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has announced he’s boycotting the forthcoming state banquet in honour of President Donald Trump whom he accuses of “making racist and misogynistic comments”.  Were Corbyn not, alas, real, nobody would dare to invent such a shameless hypocrite.

Steven R. Harvey
Cheadle Hulme,

May 02, 2019 12:15

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